The undisputed king and master of tear-jerking, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, soul-aching American country music has passed into eternity. I grew up with his music. You might say he helped prepare me for the real world. He was a public sinner, but a humble one by all accounts. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.
We were privileged to visit Thomas Aquinas College again this month. I attended one philosophy class and two theology seminars, and left greatly impressed with the participating students. One of the children remarked that TAC feels more like “home” than home, and I can definitely see the point. Here are some photos taken by a family friend who accompanied us:
When I left home at age 17, I almost lived the libertarian fantasy: with no favors, no preferences, no connections, and on the sheer force of a naked resume and a youthful smile, I knocked on doors in the industrial parks of Sacramento until a total stranger agreed to hire me for minimum wage.
I say “almost” because I was nevertheless surviving on the goodwill of relatives, who provided room and board for me while I “made it on my own”. I went to work for a family owned business, even though I wasn’t a family member.
It has long been my dream to be in a position to provide employment for my own children should they ever be in need. The older I get, the more unlikely it seems this dream will ever come to pass. Chances are, my children will have to “make it on their own” too. Increasingly our economy is leaving the young behind.
” … I wonder how much kids are suffering from the absence of a father who can prevail on personal or business connections to help them find that first job, begin an apprenticeship, or begin a career. Moms can do those things too, of course, but there’s no doubt that the single-parent family leaves kids with one less parent to open doors for them. And those parents are often younger, and working less stable, shorter-term jobs. The connections needed to give their children a hand into the job market are less common than they used to be. A powerful, subtle network that once helped young people interface with the job market has gone offline.”
Indeed. At age 46 – technically a member of “Generation X” – I belong to a transitional generation in which, for some, personal and familial connections still mattered, but for many, the expectation was one of total independence. Radical individualism. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Etc. By the 1980s employment by means of family connections, for example, was widely considered to be “nepotism”. A man working for his father’s business was thought to have been given an unfair advantage, at the expense of workers who may be better qualified.
Fast forward to 2013, and that mentality is thoroughly entrenched. We live in a militant meritocracy – in theory, at least, unless one is in possession of ideological entitlements (e.g., one is female, non-white, a disabled veteran, or homosexual). But if you don’t win the meritocracy contest, and if you aren’t entitled to decent employment for ideological reasons, then it’s tough going these days. Especially for the young. The unemployment rate for young people ages 16-24 exceeds 50 percent.
Insofar as we are to preserve a remnant of Christian civilization in the dark days ahead, we will need to get back to the practice of taking care of our own. Parents who are capable should make every effort to secure employment for their children, meritocracy be damned.
It’s hard to imagine a better argument against women’s “ordination” than this astonishingly clueless video.
I’ve always been fascinated with places and their histories, and lately I’ve been on a Louisiana kick. Devouring all things Louisiana. Especially Lafayette and “Acadiana” – the heavily Catholic southern region of the state from Baton Rouge to the Texas border. Louisianans are a friendly, helpful people, and one native has provided the following tips for visitors:
For the official record, nobody who is genuinely from Louisiana puts an apostrophe between y and all. There is nobody real in Louisiana who says ya all.
We say YALL. One word, one syllable, no missing letters, no punctuation. Yall. If you stutter after Y and before A everyone will know you’re a transplant.
A few tips about the crawdad state…
Armadillos sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.
There are 5,000 types of snakes, and 4,998 live in Louisiana.
There are 10,000 types of spiders, and all 10,000 live in Louisiana, plus a couple no one’s seen before.
Possums will eat anything.
Armadillos love to dig holes under tomato plants.
Raccoons will test your crop of melons and let you know when they are ripe.
If it grows, it sticks; if it crawls, it bites.
A tractor is NOT an all-terrain vehicle. They do get stuck.
“Onced” and “twiced” are words.
It is not a shopping cart, it is a buggy.
Fire ants consider your flesh as a picnic.
People actually grow and eat okra.
“Fixinto” is one word.
A tank is a hole in the ground to hold water for irrigation, for watterin’ the cows, for swimming, or for a weekly bath.
There ain’t no such thing as “lunch.” There’s only dinner and then there’s supper.
Coffee is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you’re 2.
All tea is always iced. All coffee is always hot. If you serve us hot tea or iced coffee, expect to scrap.
“Backwards and forwards” means I know everything about you.
“Jeet?” is actually a phrase meaning “Did you eat?”
You don’t have to wear a watch because it doesn’t matter what time it is. You work until you’re done or it’s too dark to see.
Darn near everyone knows 5 or more cloud types. (Guess they got to be look’n out for them ternayders–translation: tornadoes.)
You know you’re from LOUISIANA if . . .
1. You measure distance in minutes.
2. You’ve ever had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day.
3. Stores don’t have bags, they have sacks.
4. You see a car running in the parking lot at the store with no one in it, no matter what time of the year.
5. You use “fix” as a verb. Example: I am fixing to go to the store.
6. All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.
6A. You’ve lived in Louisiana your whole life and still didn’t know Mardi Gras wasn’t a national holiday.
7. You install security lights on your house and garage, but leave the place unlocked.
8. You carry jumper cables in your car . . . for your OWN car.
9. You know what “cow tipping” is.
10. You only own four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco.
11. The local paper covers national and international news on one page, but requires 6 pages for local gossip and sports.
12. You think the first day of deer season is a national holiday.
13. You find 100 degrees F “a little warm.”
14. You know all four seasons: Almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas.
15. Going to Wal-Mart is a favorite past-time known as “goin wal-martin” or off to “Wally World.”
16. You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good chili weather.
17. A carbonated soft drink isn’t a soda, cola, or pop . . . it’s a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor. Example: “What kinda coke you want?”
18. You understand these jokes and share them with your friends from Louisiana.
Today I drove to San Francisco – 3.5 hours each way – for a meeting I should have conducted over the telephone. Live and learn. I’m always impressed by “the City”, as many call SF. Despite it’s well-deserved notoriety, it’s still a world class city that once was supremely Catholic and still lives in the shadow of the Church. Driving through the old Irish district was a feast for the eyes. Anyway, SF being SF, my potential client was a sweet lady who belongs to the Unitarian Universalist Church, which I am told expends a great deal of effort “ministering to animals”. I met her dog, rescued from Hurricane Katrina, and sat in an office surrounded by pictures of various non-human ministerial prospects. This reminded me of a former employer (also female) who was a radical animal rights activist (they all seem to be female). She wouldn’t tolerate the slightest affront to the “dignity” of animals, but she also believed that the virtual extinction of the human race was something to strive for. Literally.
Our “new” home in Chico was originally built in 1950, underwent some remodeling and expansion over the years, and was partially rebuilt after a fire in 2005. The house is sort of cobbled together in a very amateur way. There are odd steps from one room to the next, light switches that don’t make a lot of sense, a luxurious Roman tub that is completely out of character for the place, and dozens of other eccentricities. I like that.
We’ve had contractors here for three weeks repairing doors, ceilings, walls, floors, electrical abnormalities, and so forth. I think we’re finally coming to the end of it. The plan was to turn a three-unit structure into a two unit structure, the second unit being upstairs, and to make the house minimally functional for a semi-large home schooling family. Now that our bookshelves and family altar have been re-installed, it’s really starting to feel like home. We transported 65 boxes of books in a borrowed horse trailer. They are mostly back on the shelves but still need organizing.
We just concluded our apricot harvest this week: 50 trees in all, full of mostly unblemished and tasty fruit. Yesterday, I delivered the final pickings to a Christian homeless shelter in town. At the time one of the staff was involved in a confrontation with a belligerent client, the latter of whom was being told to leave permanently. He wasn’t taking it well. Spewing profanities and making threatening gestures, the client appeared to be on the brink of violence. I don’t know if the staff member – a man in his late 30s or early 40s – was paid or was one of many volunteers, but it occurred to me that confrontations like this must be fairly common, and that homeless shelters need the services of able-bodied men who know how to handle things. I paused at the door of my truck before leaving, silently wondering if some back up might be necessary. It wasn’t.
My eldest son writes on his Google+ status: “Another amazing day, here at the Colloquium. Went for a long walk through the city tonight with a couple other young people, and said the rosary at a park on the way back. That was quite nice, albeit tiring. Salt Lake City is very scenic.” That put a smile on my face.
Yes, I was stunned by today’s SCOTUS decision, especially Roberts’ incomprehensible vote and bizarre rationale. More evidence, I suppose, that the Constitution is deader than dead. That’s unfortunate but hardly unexpected: the rule of law is always contingent upon the rule of just, wise, and competent men in the end. What was he thinking? Perhaps consistent originalism isn’t even possible anymore. Roberts is right about one thing, though: as he noted in his decision, the American people voted for the President and for the Congress responsible for this law. I would add that the American people also voted for the presidents who appointed the Supreme Court justices and the congressmen who approved them. The law is bad, and the Court’s decision was wrong, but the American people were wrong first. This is a democracy, right? Let’s take care to prioritize our outrage.
“Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted will I pluck up, even this whole land. And seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.”
- Jeremiah 45:4-5
For the first time in almost forty years, your blog host is a Chicoan again. We now live about a mile from where I attended kindergarten and first grade. Through the intercession of St. Joseph, a fine young family will be renting the house in Orland.
You may have noticed that the blog has a new name. Long-time Chicoans will recognize the allusion instantly. A name that is evocative of Catholic England, the Eden-like beauty of our surroundings, and the quirky history of Chico must be regarded as positively inspired.
I recently found two handwritten notes on my desk.
The First Note
Dad, can we go Swimming at nanas hous right now? or if not. take us shopping to buy a water slide? PLEEEAS?
- Amanda + ANNIE
The Second Note
iF you do the last Reqest, then you will be a nice dad, but if you dont then you will be considered MEAN!
Still can’t believe I said “no” to a face like this …
Because I am so proud of my children, sometimes I’m tempted to offer people child-raising advice. I have strong opinions about the subject, after all. But then something happens to make me realize, again, that it is God (with the help of my heroic wife) who has saved my children and made them good. Saved them from me, in some cases. My primary contribution as a father has been prayer. “How did you do it, Mr. Culbreath?” I prayed and repented, over and over. I hope they pray for me.